Within the confines of trade, that’s a hard question. A friend who oversaw IP policy for the USTR several administrations ago once commented to me that people thought of the USTR as John Wayne rushing into dens of IP iniquity, six-shooters ablaze, when the reality was that he was Archie Bunker shooting off nothing more than his mouth. The US and other countries have achieved important successes under the World Trade Organization’s TRIPs Agreement [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] with a dispute resolution process that is far more deliberate than the 301 process. But, although many sober voices have argued for this as the preferable route, it’s far from clear that TRIPs will cover all of the forms of IP appropriation that are the object of the current 301 process, or that the current administration has the will or the patience to follow this avenue. And there are other trade alternatives, such as a bilateral investment treaty with China that could draw on the IP provisions of the so-called TRIPs-Plus free trade agreements with other countries.
Stanford Law School
April 10, 2018